May 30, 2014
Africa Team Report: Day 1
By Irene van Rhyn and Imtiaz Desai

"We're feeling strong. Everything went as we hoped," said CrossFit PBM's Wilna Appel after their three event wins.

Three years ago the Africa Regional was held in a Cape Town carpark under a make-shift cover, and you could count the number of affiliates in the continent on your hands. This year the event is being held at South Africa’s largest indoor events venue, the Coca-Cola Dome.

A nervous but excited group of spectators and athletes from amongst the 120 plus African affiliates, including contingents from Egypt and Zimbabwe, descended on the Dome this crisp autumn morning to be a part of the 2014 CrossFit Games Africa Regional. The teams got the competition started, and in a change to previous regionals, there are no minimum work requirements but all six teammates must contribute in all eight events.  

CrossFit Platinum have dominated the team competition in recent years, qualifying for the Games in 2012 and 2013. The make of Platinum’s team is significantly different this year and some are competing under the Double Platinum banner. With the change in their team and the growth of the team field in Africa, will we see a new team represent Africa in Carson, California, this year?

Team Event 1

The first event, a couplet of muscle-ups and clean and jerks, saw the new team rule already take effect. The rule states that if an athlete fails three (3) times on a specified movement, they will be advanced to the next station and the team will be given a time-capped score, plus an additional one second for any uncompleted reps.

Only CrossFit PBM completed the event within the time-cap in a time of 11:47. Double Platinum took an early lead with their first male and female flying through their first round of muscle-ups and clean and jerks. PBM’s first lady had a few no-reps on her round of 15, but after she got through them, Double Platinum’s lady began struggling on the round of 12 muscle-ups. After their initial hurdle, PBM raced through their remaining reps for the win.

“We knew all our ladies could do the muscle-ups, for them it was about getting through the muscle-ups as quickly as possible, while the men were to go unbroken from the start. The team did very well,” said Wilna Appel, co-owner of CrossFit PBM.

Double Platinum finished in second (16:03), just two reps short of completing the event. Although PBM get the jump on them, team captain Leon Manders is optimistic. “We ran into a bit of a snag (with the muscle-ups), but we don’t let it get us down. That’s how we go. In previous years, we’ve run into a snag, and then we come from behind.”

For Manders and team, consistency is key.

“It is not about being the best at any single event, but being consistent throughout,” said Manders.

Zimbabwe’s Kings of Kyma were a surprise third place finisher on the first event of the regional. In their first year as an affiliate, it is their first trip to regionals.

“We did pretty well in that event,” said Kyma’s coach, Mark Thompson. “The ladies got more muscle-ups than we thought they would, so that really helped towards our score. With this being our first ever regionals event, we are very happy with that.”

Team Event 1 Results
1. CrossFit PBM (11:47)
2. Double Platinum (16:03)
3. Kings of Kyma (16:18)
4. CrossFit Commit DB (16:21)

Team Events 2 & 3  

In Event 2, teams had eight minutes get all six teammates to establish their one rep max hang squat snatch. The hitch? Each teammate was limited to two attempts, and just two minutes after the time-cap they would have to kick up onto their hands for the max distance handstand walk (Event 3).

PBM, lead by the purple-haired Wilna Appel, continued to pull away from the rest of the field by posting the top scores of the day in both the hang squat snatch and handstand walk event. Appel said that although the handstand walk was a concern for them, it went better than expected, and overall, Day 1 went according to plan for them.

“We’re feeling strong, everything went as we hoped. This is where we wanted to be after Day 1, so we not have to play catch up,” said Appel about their three event wins, and overall lead.

Double Platinum, who placed fourth in Event 2 and second in Event 3, managed to hold onto their second place overall and remain upbeat after a difficult first day.

“The day didn’t go as expected for us, but that is usual. It is the first day, we had jitters and little bit of anxiety, but this is how we roll,” said Manders. “We’re going to kill the rest of the weekend. We just had to get through this first day, and we did fine.”

RTF CrossFit moved up from fourth in Event 1 to third overall after placing second and ninth in events two and three, respectively. Branco Visagie, a previous member of the South African Weightlifting team, successfully snatched 225 lb. to give RTF the second place on Event 2.

The morning of Day 1 revealed no upsets and went as many had expected--a tug of war between Platinum and PBM. PBM showed an especially high level of skill in each individual teammate, and took a commanding lead, but how will they perform in Day 2’s events that demand a cohesive effort from the team?

Team Event 2 Results
1. CrossFit PBM (1075 lb.)
2. Team RTF CrossFit (850 lb.)
3. CrossFit PBM 2 (840 lb.)
4. Double Platinum (775 lb.)

Team Event 3 Results
1. CrossFit PBM (430 feet)
2. Double Platinum (370 feet)
3. Team CrossFit Tokai (340 feet)

Overall Standings
1. CrossFit PBM (3)
2. Double Platinum (8)
3. Team RTF CrossFit (15)
4T. Team CrossFit Tokai (18)
4T. Kings of Kyma (18)
6. CCF Mighty Ducks (20)
7. CrossFit Durbs (28)
8. Platinum (34)
9. Black River CrossFit Panthers (35)
10. CrossFit Commit DB (36)